People love physical books. They even prefer them over ebooks. Studies say this and bibliophiles believe it.
But it’s just not true. Ebooks, whether on an ereader, an iPad or a smartphone, are a vastly more convenient experience than physical books and are most certainly the way of the future.
I’m writing this on the commute home where on multiple cars ridden by hundreds of people I spot exactly one physical book. Everyone else is staring at their smartphone, tablet or, like me, their computer. There isn’t even a newspaper to be found. When I first started riding the train in the late 1980s, you could barely hear yourself think over the rustling of newsprint.
. . . .
I often wonder at bookstores, with their aisles and aisles of dead trees compressed into 200 or so pages. Each book a perfect story just waiting for someone to buy and crack it open. How do these places survive? No one is reading physical books any more. Are they?
Yet this recent study says they are. Of course, the linguistics professor interviewed college students. Today’s college age students might be the last generation raised using books to study. Children at home and in school today are using tablets and computers to learn. At what point, I wonder, will we see young people who do not know the physical act of turning the page?
. . . .
New books are ridiculous.
We have all this awesome technology that can compress thousands of books into a single,roughly 7-ounce device that can run for two weeks on a single charge and probably saves hundreds of thousands of trees a year, but it’s not good enough? What, exactly, is so special about a new book?
Do we really need Khloe Kardashian’s Strong Looks Better Naked in print when it will look just as good, if not better, on an iPad? 10 years from now, when you spot that tome on your bookshelf, what will you feel?
The study notes that for serious reading, physical books are best. In what way, exactly? Not long ago, I was working on a book review. Since it was not yet available as an ebook, the publisher sent me a physical copy. I started reading and, initially took book notes by tearing up Post-It notes, writing little notes on them and sticking them to the corresponding pages. It was a terrible strategy. Eventually I switched to writing notes with page numbers in my iPhone. If I had an ebook version, I could have digitally highlighted all the key parts and even mailed them to myself (or viewed my highlights in my Amazon account).
Not sure how you get this “serious reading” done better on a print book. And I assume that by “serious” they mean studying.
. . . .
I know, the study says that this is how people really want to read. On social media, people remind me that ebooks are more expensive (are they, really?), they need power (true, but so does almost everything else we do in this digitally saturated 21st Century). These are thin arguments and probably sound weak even to those who say them. Ebooks are, in fact, a better reading technology than print. Period.
Link to the rest at Mashable and thanks to Jason for the tip.